Once a years, so it has become a tradition, that I have an extended time with my extended family. This means my siblings, their children, my mom, my aunt and etc. It has become somewhat of a blended family when it comes to theological orientation . . . or lack of. I mean in this case, there is a part of the family who is on staff with a famous televangelist. I won't say who, because it could cost this family member their job.
Other family members, including some from the same branch as the televangelist members, are more comfortable with Hooters, strip joints and a long association with avoiding church at all cost. Yet, this diversity is not so pronounced. All of us share the same Southern Baptist roots. The Bible-belt Christianity, which I've alluded to many times, is . . . well, a game. So, when you get this mixed crowd together, depending on which group dominates by number, thus goes the conversation. The Hooters crowd is very comfortable talking "Baptist" when such dominates the mood. Likewise the Televangelist crowd can, chameleon-like, speak a little raunchy when the mood so dictates.
My cynical point is the evening that the Televangelists took control. What happened was that the family member, which works for the famous TV evangelist, had visitors from back home. They were nice people . . . and I sincerely mean that. All three were Evangelists and worked closely with their more famous counterpart. But what was disturbing was the conversation, which I heard during the evening, that left me with the feeling that Evangelicalism is about in the same moral fortitude as the Qaddafi regime.
First of all, the three were traveling through on their way to a natural supplement convention. The convention, so I understand, is where they preach Jesus and sell cancer-curing natural supplements. This is a big money maker for them. Lots of testimonials of people who threw away their chemotherapy and other medical treatments for their cancer, and bought their supplements because this is what Jesus would want them to do. Now, if these evangelist actually believe those "cures" then their failure is being stupid. But I think it is worse than that. I think they know in their hearts that they are selling snake-oil. This makes them murderers. Murder for money. Disgusting! Being snake-oil salesmen is really the oldest profession, not prostitution.
The next thing I heard was in response to the TV blaring in the background (actually, it gave me something to look and listen to so I could avoid hearing more things that would upset me). The news showed Obama making a speech. The one member of the Televangelist crowd said something that made my hair curl. "Someone should have assassinated that man a long time ago."
I turned to them in total disbelief. "I can't believe you could say something like that."
A few minutes later, after a Sponge Bob commercial aired, I got a long lecture about the show. You see, so I learned, that Sponge Bob was created by two "flaming homoooosexuals" who actually created it for a gay, adult TV channel. The show is full of constant symbolism. Bob himself, as they told me, is a vaginal barrier sponge (contraceptive). A couple of the characters apparently wear condoms as hats. Much of the narrative is metaphor for the delights of gay sex. According to them, a deliberate decision was made to air the show on kids' TV to recruit more kids to be gay.
I felt like I was talking to the Taliban. Maybe very little daylight stands between the two groups.